Craig Armstrong: Celebrating 30 Years as Captain of the Ship

President Dion Flannery presents the 30-year service award to Captain Craig Armstrong.

President Dion Flannery presents the 30-year service award to Captain Craig Armstrong.

In his storied career, Captain Craig Armstrong has many memorable moments, but he put the celebration this week in honor of his 30 years of service at the top of the list. Armstrong sat down with us and reflected on his time with PSA. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: When and where did you learn to fly?
A: Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK.

Q: When did your aviation career begin?
A: I was an instructor, teaching private pilots in Bowling Green, KY and then flew charter for a couple of years in Owensboro, KY.

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I’m from Lexington, KY.

Q: Did you always want to be a pilot? Any other occupation pursuits?
A: No. I worked in construction. I took an introductory pilot lesson and fell in love with it.

Q: Before you came to PSA, where did you fly?
A: I was hired by Britt Airways in 1983 and was a First Officer for one year. Then, I upgraded to Captain. I was there three years. Then in 1986, I was hired in as a Captain by JetStream International (which later became PSA).

Q: Where have you been based with PSA?
A: I’ve chosen to be based in Dayton for 30 years.

Q: You were set to be one of the first pilots to flow to American Airlines. Why did you choose to stay at PSA?
A: I found a home here. I felt like part of a family. The people. We went through hard times together and I wanted to stay with them for the good.

Q: What is your favorite jet to fly?
A: The Dornier 328 turboprop. It’s a “real pilot’s” airplane. It’s smooth and quiet.

Q: What’s the best part about working for PSA?
A: The relationships with the people. Each day, I have the opportunity to meet passengers, greet them and interact with them. The best job in the aviation industry is a senior line holder and flying the line.

Q: What’s your most memorable moment at PSA?
A: This one. When you have a chance to reflect on your career and take it all in. My other one is doing a cabin class proving run on the Brasilia with a plane full of FAA guys to get certified to fly the aircraft.

Q: What is your favorite destination to fly to?
A: Do I have to pick one? I have three. 1. Portland, Maine; 2. Sarasota, Florida and 3. Key West, Florida. I love seeing the ocean from the air.

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: Abaco, Bahamas.

Q: Tell us about your family.
A: I’m married and I have 5 children and 14 grandchildren. One son is an air traffic controller and another is a private pilot. All of them are involved, either as private pilots, students or on the ground, including grandkids. I take them up in my Cessna 150.

Q: Who do you credit for your success?
A: My wife. I wouldn’t be here without her.

What others have to say about Captain Armstrong:

“One of the finest aviators I’ve come across in my career. He’s always trying to make this airline better. He’s the captain of the ship, because that’s what he does.” – Michael Scrobola, Vice President Flight Operations

“He’s the model of a professional pilot.” – Randy Fusi, Vice President Safety